Gone Fishing

fishingJust kidding.  It’s summer, and I’ll take a couple short breaks from the blog, starting with tomorrow through Monday. 

Back at it on Tuesday.

Image:  khayal

Hope

songbird

From “Hope is the thing with feathers”

“Hope” is the thing with feathers–
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops – at all—

-Emily Dickinson

Is there anything more lovely than hearing birds sing in the morning? No matter how nightmarish the night, the sound of birds singing in the morning is often all one needs to turn things around and make the terrors of the night seem a waste of time.

A task of leadership is to be the voice of hope and speak to the innate human desire to improve life.

Bird Image:  wildxplorer

A Life of Purpose

grasshopper

Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota

Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly,
asleep on the black trunk,
blowing like a leaf in green shadow.
Down the ravine behind the empty house,
the cowbells follow one another
into the distances of the afternoon.
To my right,
in a field of sunlight between two pines,
the droppings of last year’s horses
blaze up into golden stones.
I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on.
A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home.
I have wasted my life.

-James Wright

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

-Mary Oliver

Both of these poems have striking endings.

In many ways these poems are reflections of each other. Nature is a catalyst for thinking about the meaning of life. In Mary Oliver’s poem, the speaker is filled with gratitude and wonder. In James Wright’s poem, regret.

In essence, they both ask the same contemplative and powerful questions. What are you going to do with your life? Are you living a life of purpose, of meaning, and of doing things that matter?

Grasshopper Image:  jcantroot